Thrashers on short end of 5-on-3s

Greetings from a very rainy South Florida.

The Thrashers are holding an optional skate this morning at BankAtlantic Center after arriving early in the a.m. from Carolina and the 5-3 win.

I did a little research after last night’s game after the nearly costly 5-on-3 disadvantage. This season the Thrashers have been two men down 11 times this season for a total of 12:25. On the other hand, the Thrashers have  been two men up only 6 times for a total of 2:37. One of those power plays lasted1:26, meaning the combined time of the other five was just 1:11.

Opponents have scored on four of their 11 chances. The Thrashers do not have a 5-on-3 goal.

I’m planning a story on the strategy and/or method to defend such a penalty kill.

Most players are taking part in practice. Those who are not: Ron Hainsey, Pavel Kubina, Christoph Schubert, Max Afinogenov, Eric Boulton and Ondrej Pavelec. Kari Lehtonen is on the ice.

A Did you know? from the feature on Marty Reasoner that I am working on: His junior season at Boston College, his last, he led the nation in points but was not a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

14 comments Add your comment


January 17th, 2010
11:53 am

j nes

January 17th, 2010
12:12 pm

THe five on three last night was due to a terrible call on Boris. He definitely earns his fair share of penalties but that was bs.


January 17th, 2010
12:31 pm

Chris – Does the NHL have any process for holding the Referees accountable for these Bogus calls, such as the two (supposed slashing by Peverly and Roughing by Valabik) that led to the 5 on 3?


January 17th, 2010
12:38 pm

I did not know that about Reasoner, Chris Vivlamore. How nice for him to have had that kind of success at BC. He should have been a Hobey finalist, at least, with those numbers.

Vis-a-vis “5-on-3,” defensively, you want to maintain a triangle. And, above all, keep sticks in passing lanes. Try to force the shot from the corner boards or the blueline, then clear out the bodies in front, to try to give the goalie the best view. For goalies, try to catch the puck and force play stoppages to rest your players. If you must kick out rebounds, try to clear the zone off the high glass.

Offensively, the key to everything is “2-on-1.” When up “5-on-3,” cancelling out is the goal. That makes it “4-on-2.” If two forwards can nullify two defenders, now we’re talking “2-on-1.” Stretch the ice. Two guys high at the point, to pass without pressure or shoot-on-demand. I love the fake shot-pass. And the “no look shot,” like what Carlsson used to score on Canada at the World Juniors, to take home the Gold medal for the USA. Disguising your next move, like the “no look pass” on offense, when up “5-on-3,” is a powerful tool. Don’t telegraph it. It’s perfectly fine to shoot from obscure angles, so long as the shots are ACCURATE. Force the goaltender to make a save or cough up a rebound. The single most important thing to do … on the “5-on-3″ PP, is to keep your feet moving. You are doing HALF of the defense’s work for them, by STANDING STILL, in pre-determined positions. This is precisely what the defense WANTS you to do. They’ve strategized for that very situation. That’s why they conceived the “triangle defense” strategy. If you’re up, “5-on-3,” you want a defender to engage you, for it means TWO MEN ARE OPEN. And if those TWO OPEN MEN are skating, as opposed to standing still, waiting to receive the puck, then the defense is in a HEAP of trouble. Big time.

One of the biggest mistakes the offense makes in a “5-on-3″ is taking some UNGODLY slapper from the side wall, and MISSING THE NET. Ya know what you JUST DID????

Bueller?? Bueller??? Bueller???

Yeah, ya just ICED the puck for the defense, and probably allowed them to make a change, getting fresh legs out there. That’s just, plain BAD DECISION-MAKING. If you MUST shoot from the side, the shot must be accurate, and/or be used as a “disguised pass” to your teammate, breaking towards the net. In other words, you move in for the shot, just inside the side faceoff circle, keeping the shot low and to the stickside of the goaltender. He won’t be able to control the rebound. So the forward on the opposing wall should rush towards the net, trying to corral the rebound and stuff it in the net, from close range. Even if he missed the rebound, there should still be a point man to control the puck back at the blueline, to maintain zone possession.

And, what’s wrong with “rope-a-dope?” Wear ‘em out. If you make defensemen skate and work hard, for 90 or more seconds without a break, they’ll tire out. And GASSED defenders are easy pickins!


January 17th, 2010
2:24 pm

Boris and Staal both should have gone last night. I liked Boris sticking up for his goalie after Staal took the late poke at the whistle. We don’t see enough of that. However, I think Staal goaded Boris into escalating things and then didn’t back his challenge up. That’s CS in my book.


January 17th, 2010
2:29 pm

I don’t complain about officiating too often as I used to be an off-ice official, but last night the calls were atrocious. And that includes the great Carolina defensive play that stood Kovalchuck up and knocked him to the ice- “Holding The Stick”. As John Anderson could be seen shouting repeatedly, WTF!

Chris Vivlamore

January 17th, 2010
3:31 pm

Brendan: Nice job.You could write the story!

Updates from practice: Anderson said Todd White has continued to be a scratch because the lineup was working so well, not the right leg injury. However, he said several players ‘have bumps and bruises’ and will be game-time decisions tomorrow vs. Florida. Anderson also would not name the starting goalie. Ondrej Pavelec has started the past three.


January 17th, 2010
4:59 pm

Thank you, Chris. I am looking forward to the “5-on-3″ article. I liked the art of the shootout piece. And many other features you’ve done. The goaltender decision will be an interesting call. I would think Moose is well rested and ready for another start. But Pavelec is doing well.


January 17th, 2010
7:51 pm

I’d say ride the hot goalie, but I don’t think Pavelec has really been standing on his head. He’s definitely been adequate, but does that equal “hot goalie”?


January 17th, 2010
10:33 pm

I would still like to know why Boris gets to play vs. Salmela? Any reasons Chris that you know of?

Chris Vivlamore

January 18th, 2010
9:30 am

Anderson says he is trying to keep both Valabik and Salmela in the rotation. He seems to go with Valabik when he wants more of a physical presence. The d-corp will get more crowded with Popovic returns.

Chris Vivlamore

January 18th, 2010
10:33 am

Just arrived at BankAtlantic Center for the morning skate. I’ll start a new blog when the Thrashers take the ice. Expect Johan Hedberg to start in goal.


January 18th, 2010
10:48 am

Good to see Moose getting the start, Pavelec was ok but not great and Moose is better after some rest.

Get Salmela back in there, Valabik is just an accident waiting to happen.


January 18th, 2010
11:58 am

I’m glad Moose is getting the start in net, too. I don’t want the memories of his last effort, vs. the Capitals, to fester. He needs the chance to put that game behind him.

Bob, wonder if Valabik would garner any attention at the trade deadline? Would you “package” Valabik in a deal, as sweetener, if the Thrashers were actually in a BUYING position at the deadline? I sure hope these owners don’t try to mortgage the future for an 8th place playoff spot.